Saturday, February 28, 2009

Open Scriptures' Manuscript Comparator

I've just discovered a fascinating online tool by Weston Ruter provided through his OpenScriptures web site. It is a remarkable demonstration of semantic linking showing how one can bring together biblical texts from the web and collate their similarities and differences. The payoff is the Manuscript Comparator that recently went live with the full New Testament available. Read more about it here and see the introduction and menu to the Comparator HERE. Here is how Ruter describes the project:

The database is constructed as follows: various manuscripts available on the Web today are each imported into the database individually, storing each manuscript’s word (token) separately with a unique identifier for each. After all of the individual manuscripts have been imported, they are then all merged together into a unified manuscript. The merging algorithm normalizes the text for comparison by removing all casing, diacritics, and punctuation; the unified manuscript stored in the database is composed of these normalized words. So the result of the manuscript merge is a unified manuscript which consists of every possible variant attested to by the contributing manuscripts; furthermore, all of the tokens in an individual manuscript are linked back to their corresponding words in the unified manuscript. Thus every manuscript is linked to every other manuscript by means of their links to a common point, the unified manuscript.
You'll enjoy simply playing around with the Comparator. First you set configuration options. Note the seven NT texts you can use, and to them you can choose to add Strong's definitions.
Here is what the results look like for a parallel display of Mark 1.1-3 (that will link you to the live version; below is a static graphic):

You'll want to read Ruter's description, but you can see quite easily the differences highlighted between the texts of NA, UBS, WH, and Tischendorf as compared to the Byzantine (Majority) Text and Textus Receptus. In my screen capture above, you can also see how hovering your mouse over a word in one of the parallels will highlight it in the other. If only certain versions have a particular reading, it will be highlighted in yellow in the heading. (In my example you can see where only Tischendorf includes the 1st singular pronoun.) In the hover-over popup, you can also see where morphological information is included along with--if you had chosen it in the configuration--a definition provided from Strong's.

BTW, if you will be attending BibleTech09 (sadly, I am not able to do so this year), Ruter is one of the speakers and will be talking about his Open Scriptures project which he describes as:
a comprehensive open-source Web repository for integrated scriptural data and a general application framework for building internationalized social applications of scripture.
Thanks to Weston Ruter for sharing this excellent resource!

Unicode Greek font with full set of symbols

Danny Zacharias noted this Unicode Greek font on his deinde blog, but it's worth repeating here. If you can read French, check this page at the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (IFAO) site. (If not, here is the page in comprehensible English.) The font is described as:

IFAOGrec Unicode: Unicode Greek font with special characters and editing epigraphic Papyrology

Successor Font to IFAOGrec2002 (A standard signs B, C Signs)
IFAOGrec Unicode is a font of all Greek and Coptic characters which includes the main diacritical marks, acronyms and symbols useful in editions of epigraphic texts or Papyrology as well as Greek texts in related fields (mathematics, astronomy, magic, music, poetry, etc.)..

It is fully compatible with other standard Unicode Greek fonts with respect to its character mapping (Main Area Plane 0) and tries to be as much as possible - with, for example, New Athena Unicode - in the private (Private Use Area) and Plane Zone 1. It also offers many characters absent from other fonts. It was also designed to harmonize perfectly with Times (New Roman), including its module and line spacing.

It was designed by Jean-Luc Fournet. The unicode implementation is due to Ralph Hancock. Its development was also assisted by Adam Bülow-Jacobsen. It is free and free of copyright.
As this text sample shows, it is an attractive font that does match well with Times New Roman. It is indeed free, even for publishers (with attribution). Do note that it has been especially designed for people doing text critical work, so there is a very full set of text critical symbols.
Near the bottom of the IFAO page you will find the ZIP file to download the file along with two PDF files providing documentation and character maps. If you need a Coptic font, IFAO offers a Unicode one as well.

Friday, February 13, 2009

First Online Virtual Library of Medieval Works

Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts
reported in SpaceMart:

Two years ago [UCLA Asst. Prof. Matthew] Fisher, former UCLA Professor Christopher Baswell, two graduate students and a computer developer decided to collect links to every manuscript from the eighth to the 15th century that had been fully digitized by any library, archive, institute or private owner anywhere in the world.
Last December the researchers officially opened the Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts that links to nearly 1,000 manuscripts by 193 authors in 20 languages from 59 libraries around the world.
Note that in addition to a ms. search function, you can also browse by location of ms., shelfmark, author, title, or language. Anything medieval is usual way too modern for a NT guy like me, but it does include quite a number of biblical mss. Below is a screen capture of Codex Delta, a 9th century Greek/Latin ms. of the Gospels. Shown is the (longer) ending of the Gospel of Mark and below it are Eusebian references to sections in Luke which follows.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Logos and Zotero

Here's some good news! Phil Gons has just posted a notice on the Logos blog about exporting all the bibliographic info from your Logos/Libronix library into Zotero. I've been recommending Zotero for some time, so this is an incredibly easy way to integrate the two. Follow the directions on Phil's post. It took me less than 3 minutes to export my 736 unlocked resources in Logos and then import them into my Zotero collection. See the graphic above.
Thanks for pointing out this most excellent way to do this!

The Doré Gallery of Bible Illustrations: Online and in Bible Software

Gustave Doré was the popular 19th century French illustrator known for his 'dramatic' depictions. In 1866, he published an illustrated 2 volume work with over 200 Bible illustrations, but his also illustrated numerous other works (Dante's Divine Comedy, Milton's Paradise Lost) and had hosts of other indiviual pieces. His fame continues today, since his works are in the public domain, have been widely scanned, and are easily available for free on the Internet. You will probably recognize his images for their distinctive woodcut style.
I have collated some of the best ways to access his Bible-related works, noting both ways to obtain images online, to download, or to integrate with Bible software.
(Links provided to download modules for Accordance, BibleWorks, E-Sword, LaParola, and Logos. You may already have the artwork in Accordance, but these are free downloads for the other programs. The PBB file for Logos is brand new thanks to Don Ring. [UPDATE: LaParola added to list via comment by Richard Wilson.])

While Doré was not regarded as an 'elite' artist in his own day and most of his images certainly have a 19th century look to them, he does have some interesting depictions worth considering. Here's an illustration of Jesus (not included in the Bible volumes) that is rather well done, imo.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Free "Notes for the Study of the New Testament" Update

Terry Cook has given me permission to post his updated Notes for the Study of the Greek New Testament. (I posted about an earlier edition here which was 305 pages long. This new one is 364 pages.) I quote from his preface:

As will become immediately clear, what follows is built on foundational work done by many others and as we go along, the importance of these foundational contributions will become clear. The purpose of this presentation is to help explain Greek grammar and syntax with an approach that is different from the usual Greek textbooks or supplements. The goal of this supplement is to clarify and reinforce the material presented in the textbooks given in the bibliography, after the students’ initial reading.
Very important to the use of this guide is understanding the layout so that the user will be able to make the most of the material. The design includes hundreds of “notes” from these textbooks on all the features of New Testament Koine that I felt might be important to a 2nd-3rd year Greek student whose primary interest is the Koine Greek New Testament. I have provided information on syntax and grammar, definitions5 (which appear at the end), explanations, and examples from both English and Greek- citing examples from the Greek New Testament when appropriate. It is my hope that when used as intended this guide will help students to gain a solid foundation upon which to understand the New Testament in its original language and that this guide might lead the student to pursue subsequent study and gain a thorough mastery of the language. Again, this guide is not intended for use as a stand-alone study guide but aims to provide the interested person a supplement to one or more of the many fine textbooks available.
It is thought that this essay might be profitable for use in self-study,6 for use in the classroom, and as an independent reference tool.
He has over 50 Greek grammar and reference works listed in the bibliography including the usual suspects: Funk, Goodwin, Machen, Moule, Moulton, Mounce, Nunn, Porter, Robinson, Wallace. The Table of Contents displayed below will give you an idea of the organization. The Glossary at the end is also worth consulting.
I checked some things that are often confusing to students like the article, participles, infinitives, tense, and case, and I found him to offer solid, reasonable remarks throughout.
Thanks to Terry Cook for sharing this fine resource. You can download the 1.8Mb PDF file HERE.

Monday, February 9, 2009

International Septuagint Day

This is what I get for letting my reader get piled up. I missed the International Septuagint Day on February 8. Bummer. Then again, every day ought to be a celebration of the LXX. Put it on your calendar for next year, and check out all of Tyler Williams' reasons for studying the LXX.

Catching up - Part 1

With over 100 items saved up in my Google Reader, it's time to either get them out or declare bankruptcy. So, let me simply point to a bunch of stuff I found interesting enough to save that is related either to biblical studies or education.

Jane's E-Learning always has lots of good stuff. Here are some she has highlighted:

  • Lovely Charts for making flowcharts, sitemaps, etc.
  • A Guide to Social Learning now available as a "social resource."
  • Academic with "1000s of video lectures from the world's top scholars;" include Christine Hayes (Yale) OT Intro
  • PhotoPeach is a free online tool to make slideshows; kind of like MS Photostory, but it allows for viewers to add comments
  • exploratree " is a free web resource where you can access a library of ready-made interactive thinking guides, print them, edit them or make your own. You can share them and work on them in groups too." This one looks interesting...
  • ScreenToaster: If you don't have Camtasia Studio for doing screen captures, you can use the free Jing app, but ScreenToaster which is also free might be even simpler to use. Easy signup, choose fullscreen or area recording, audio or not, webcam or not, and go. Files can be uploaded to ScreenToaster or YouTube or downloaded as AVI or SWF. Very nice.
  • MixedInk: "MixedInk takes a fresh approach to collaborative writing. It's a fun, democratic and elegant way for people to weave their best ideas together. (Plus, it's free!)" I could see using something like this in developing course syllabi or defining desired outcomes. Want to give it a try? You will need to create a free account, but then come HERE and say why you think learning biblical Greek is important.
Shoot... I just cleared out 14 entries, but in the time it took to put this together, another 10 came in. Still over 100 in my reader... That's it for now.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Google Books for iPhone and Android phone

Yesterday (2009.02.05), Google announced:

Today we are excited to announce the launch of a mobile version of Google Book Search, opening up over 1.5 million mobile public domain books in the US (and over half a million outside the US) for you to browse while buying your postage.

While these books were already available on Google Book Search, these new mobile editions are optimized to be read on a small screen. To try it out and start reading, open up your web browser in your iphone or Android phone and go to
Interesting... As noted on Yahoo Tech news, this poses something of a challenge to Amazon's Kindle reader. (Also note the other free ebook apps for iPhone mentioned there: Stanza, eReader or BookShelfLT.)
I did check out the mobile Google book site, and there is a whole section on Religion with the usual suspects of public domain books. There are a number of Greek texts such as Winer's 1874 Grammar or Souter's 1913
Text and Canon of the NT or Goodwin's 1860 Syntax. To keep things efficient for a mobile device, everything has been rendered with OCR, but in the instances with Greek, note that you can click on the paragraph to have the original appear as a graphic. (Cf. the graphic below with the image of the Greek and the confused Greek OCR below it.)

In any case, it's all free and may prove helpful to you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Creating Concordances using Accordance, BibleWorks, Logos, LaParola

Bible software has pretty much eliminated the need for concordances. Back in the day, I spent a lot of time in Moulton & Geden's Concordance to the Greek Testament, Hatch & Redpath's Concordance to the Septuagint, Evan-Shosham's New Concordance of the Bible, or the BHS concordances by Lisowski or Mandelkern. On the BibleWorks forum, however, someone was asking how to create a concordance that could be printed out for just a single book of the Bible. The goal, besides having a printed copy they could use when away from their computer, was to help in reading by paying attention to when a word was previously used so that they had some help in building up their vocabulary. I can also see that having a book-delimited concordance would also be helpful for getting a sense of an author's vocabulary and identifying themes and key terms in that book. So, how does one create such a concordance using the usual suspects in the Bible software field? For my test here, I tried to create a concordance for the book of Jude.

It can't be done easily. There are quite a few tools one can use to look at the information in a variety of ways, but there is no simple way to create a concordance. John Fidel showed probably the best way on an earlier BW thread. You could also use such tools as the Word List Manager to get a list of all the words with their frequency but no way to note which verses. The Keyword in Context (KWIC) tool provides another way of viewing the text, but that also would be a one at a time copy/paste task. You could also use the Report Generator and choose something like the Gingrich lexicon which provides many references, but it still won't really give concordance-like info in a compact form.

In Logos you can do a search using the * wildcard on your preferred text. (You can use either the Bible Search or a Greek Morphological Search, but for some reason, my results were displayed differently in each.) When the search results are returned (and it did take a minute even just with Jude), you will be tempted to hit the Concordance option in the top right, but that won't give the results you probably want, since it returns hits according to form rather than according to root. Instead, hit the "Search Analysis by Lemma" option which will return the results shown above. Note that it does group the words by lemma but still breaks them down according to form. I couldn't figure out how to add a gloss to the entries. It is a nice concordance format with the word bolded in context, but it may not be what you want for printing. Jude alone would require 35 pages. I couldn't figure out a way just to get verse references without the full verse.

Accordance is the clear winner in accomplishing the task of generating a concordance. It is simply a matter of doing a wildcard search on the version of choice with limits set and then hit the Details button, then the Concordance button. That's it, and it is very fast. The screen shot above shows the kind of concordance entry one usually is looking for, and note that it also provides a gloss along with the frequency and verse references. Also note that the Concordance output can be adjusted as you can see above. You can set it to display the results for just the one book or for the words in that book within the full NT. If you want to see the text, simply set the display threshold to a number greater than 1. You can also show parts of speech if you want. Below shows another concordance view.

LaParola LaParola wins for cost and ease of creation. The program is a free download and uses the CCAT MorphGNT, BHS, LXX, and a number of public domain English and Italian versions as well as many other resources. In LaParola, creating a concordance is simply a matter of hitting F7, choose the passage, text, how you want the words ordered, and whether its based on words or roots, hit OK, and you immediately get the concordance as shown above. No glosses, but it a very compact form for printing.

I couldn't find an easy way to create a concordance in E-Sword, Online Bible, QuickVerse2009, or BibleExplorer4. If you know of other ways to generate a concordance, please share it here.

Google Earth 5 Now Available

Google Earth 5 is now available for download, and they have added some great new features. Most notable among them is the new data and imagery for the oceans, historical imagery, 3D Mars, and tour recording. The ocean stuff is beautiful, and there are ways to go beneath the waves. Check out the video...

You can download Google Earth 5.0 here, but do also check out the various posts highlighting different features on the Google Earth blog.
As for its relevance to biblical mapping and visualizations, there is perhaps not so much to note. I checked quite a few archaeological sites hoping to use the historical imaging feature to see progress that has been made at places like Herodion, Ephesus, Corinth, or Beth Shean. Unfortunately, there is not much to see. Satellite images only go back to about 2003, and often the earlier images are of insufficient detail to see much of what was going on. At least one can now sometimes choose between images taken at different times of the year, or different lighting or different quality.

HERE is a 30 second screencast I did using the tour recording feature showing Ephesus in 2003, 2005, and 2006.

If anyone finds a good example of historical imaging related to a biblical site, let me know!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Listing of Texts in BibleWorks

I have updated an earlier listing of texts and versions in BibleWorks that now reflects the contents of BibleWorks8. Perhaps most helpful is that it provides a list of all the text abbreviations. There is an XLS spreadsheet as well as PDFs available, and they provide texts grouped according to content or else an alphabetical listing of all abbreviations. In addition to the contents in BW8, I have also included the user-created versions available for free download at the BibleWorks Blog site. I have listed pretty much all the Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Greek, Latin, and English texts, but I have not compliled a list of all the modern, non-English Bible versions. (If someone else has the time/interest to do so, I would be happy to add them to the list.) Here you go:
List of BibleWorks Texts and Abbreviations
XLS spreadsheet / PDF:grouped / PDF:A>Z